The 10 Best Places to Retire in California For Baby Boomers

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Dreaming of a retirement surrounded by coastal breezes, lush vineyards, and cultural hotspots? Using U.S. News’ retirement rankings, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 best places to retire in California. From the serene parklands in Fresno to the fantastic healthcare centers in San Francisco, there’s an ideal location for every baby boomer!


Best places to retire in California
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Population age 60+: 18%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,971
Median monthly rent: $1,286

Found around two hours from San Francisco by car, Stockton offers a quieter life with easy accessibility to other cities. In a state that is known for its pricier housing, Stockton is the rare anomaly and offers more affordable options for its residents. 

It’s also a great spot for boomers looking to keep on top of their education. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of the Pacific offers workshops and classes for retirees!


Best places to retire in California
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Population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,129
Median monthly rent: $1,364

Despite it being the state capital of California, Sacramento offers more affordable living options than the state’s other large cities. It’s also a fantastic location when it comes to healthcare. The city is home to UC Davis Medical Center, a highly regarded health facility that provides senior-focused health programs.

For those politically inclined, living in the state capital will have you in the political center of one of the most important regions in the world. So, there’s no better place to lobby your representatives and make a difference!


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Population age 60+: 16%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,586
Median monthly rent: $994

With some of the lowest housing costs in the whole of California, Bakersfield is considered one of the best places to retire in California. With hot summers and dry winters, it’s also a great place for sun worshippers to soak up the rays year-round.

Surrounded by protected farmland, you can be assured your produce will be homegrown and well looked after in Bakersfield. And for those who love their country music, it’s a great spot to dive into the Bakersfield Sound and head to music venues across town to enjoy a show.


Best places to retire in California
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Population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,235
Median monthly rent: $1,684

Fairfield is ideally situated for retirees with grandchildren to entertain. With Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is just a 20-minute drive and no more than 3 miles to the Jelly Belly Candy Company, where little ones (and the young at heart) can enjoy a factory tour.

The area is one of the best places to retire in California thanks to its thriving support for seniors. The Fairfield Adult Recreation Center offers plenty of programs and activities built for retirees looking to stay busy. So whether you pick up a new hobby or make a new best friend, you’ll soon fall in love with Fairfield.


Best places to retire in California
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Population age 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,352
Median monthly rent: $1,600

Salinas should certainly be considered one of the best places to retire in California, with its more affordable housing prices and cool temperatures attracting more baby boomers each year.

The city is well equipped for its older population with initiatives like the Alliance on Aging that supports senior citizens on everything from tax to Medicare. It’s also home to a Senior Services Division which organizes plenty of events and programs for retirees in the community.

San Jose

Best places to retire in California
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Population aged 60+: 19%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $3,505
Median monthly rent: $2,365

While it’s certainly not a cheap area to live, San Jose offers a lot for seniors. Despite its reputation for being a hub for tech companies, there’s plenty more to this Californian city than computers and tech kids.

With its warm, Mediterranean-like climate, San Jose is perfect for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. There are a good number of parks to pick from including Alum Rock Park, where you can do a spot of hiking, bird watching, or just relaxing in the greenery.

San Francisco

Best places to retire in California
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Population age 60+: 22%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $3,207
Median monthly rent: $2,021

Like San Jose, if you can get past the prices, San Francisco is one of the best places to retire in California. For those looking to settle somewhere with outstanding healthcare, you can’t go wrong with the Golden Gate City. Both Stanford Hospital and UCSF Medical Center are featured in the top 20 hospitals in the nation, so you can expect to be well looked after if you choose San Fran as your new home.

It also offers a welcome break from the Californian heat, with even the summers staying relatively cold compared to the rest of the state. And who doesn’t love to see all that dramatic fog in the mornings?

San Diego

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Population age 60+: 20%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,653
Median monthly rent: $1,732

With year-round warm temperatures and miles of sandy beaches to explore, San Diego has always been considered a great place to retire in California.

With strong transportation options, including the Metropolitan Transit System, the city is a breeze to get around for seniors without cars or bikes. San Diego is a wonderful home for those who love a bit of adventure. You can even try your hand at scuba diving at La Jolla Cove – it’s never too late to try new things!

Santa Rosa

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Population age 60+: 27%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $2,576
Median monthly rent: $1,743

A retirement living among vineyards and enjoying local wines sounds pretty great, right? Well, residents of Santa Rosa can make that dream a reality and for that reason, it makes the city one of the best places to retire in California!

Santra Rosa is also home to several top-rated medical facilities. These include the Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, with the latter being nationally recognized for its cancer treatment.


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Population age 60+: 17%
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,660
Median monthly rent: $1,029

If you love the outdoors and imagine spending your non-working days out in Mother Nature, Fresno might be the best place to retire in California. With easy access to Sequoia, Yosemite, and Kings Canyon National Parks, as well as a range of lakes and forests, it’s an outdoor lovers paradise. And the best news of all? It’s one of the most affordable locations in California to retire in!

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